Early morning Musings.

I’ve been awake since about 4am. I can’t get comfortable or turn my brain off to sleep. It seems to be a recurring theme these days so I decided to finally get out of bed at a quarter after 5 and take a shower. That’s when I noticed my ankles –or rather, the ankle bone part of them not really sticking out the way it’s supposed to and that my toes look like Vienna Sausages. The edema has begun folks. I’m taking on water like the Titanic.

I have been very fortunate this pregnancy to be relatively healthy and able to get around and everything. But the last few weeks are the hard ones. When I mention some sort of ailment to Gabe, he says, “Remember this part when you want to do it again….”

And to clarify, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean “do it.” I’m pretty sure he means “get pregnant.” I’ll have to remind him of that, later.

The holidays are fast approaching and some of the things running through my head while I lay awake include:

When is this baby coming? When should I order the turkey? What sides should I make and how much? Should we just order an entire meal from Giant Eagle? Maybe the baby will come so I don’t have to get food. What will we do with Simon? Will I make it to his Christmas Program on December 16th? What the hell should I get everyone for Christmas? When’s the soonest I can get Christmas decorations up without usurping Thanksgiving but still be able to move around? How much more weight am I going to gain? Maybe I shouldn’t get my hair cut again before the baby comes. Why can’t I commit to online shopping for gifts? I need to bring the carseats and pack and play upstairs. I need to hang up picture frames. First I need to print pictures to put in them. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on over Christmas and where we will be for how long. I feel like I don’t want to commit but I also want a plan.

Will my water break at work? At the gym? In the hospital? Are my stomach muscles ripping apart? Do we have to pay for both weeks of preschool that Simon’s on break? When am I getting the title and registration for our new car? Should I start drinking coffee again after the baby’s born? I wonder what he’ll look like. I wonder if his head will be as big as Simon’s. I wonder what he’ll wear at Christmas. I wonder what he’ll be like when he’s four.

This is about 68 seconds of thought. None of it is all that important I realize. Prior to thinking about these things it’s usually:

Ow ow ow, roll over. Roll over. Hold your stomach and roll over-whoa don’t forget the pillows. Wait, where’s the other one? Where’s the brown pillow? The brown one that was on our couch but fits perfectly to prop up my stomach? Where is it? Where is it? On the floor? No. On Gabe’s side? No. Dammit where is that pillow. Roll over the other way. Make do with the remaining (6) pillows. Impossible. Where is that damned pillow? Repeat. Finally Gabe wakes up and hands it to me. Apparently he was clutching it. “Sorry.” He says.

How long was he listening to me rustle around looking for that pillow?

Today is a half day and I’m doing something nice for myself. I may decide to make my family dinner, and I may not. We shall see. I definitely will take a nap.

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I’m 31.

I am 31 years old today. And I definitely feel like it. Last year I said, “I don’t feel 30 at all!” and this year I’m saying, “I feel FORTY-ONE.” Of course, I’m uber pregnant so that’s going to make a person feel older, slower, bigger and dumber. So I suppose it comes with the territory.

Though I have pretty low expectations for a prego-friendly birthday being all that fun, so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what’s gone on….

Aside from the near complete lack of sleep last night due to discomfort in general:

  • I woke up to Gabe making me a special breakfast – blueberry pancakes and watermelon and he even bought healthy sausage..
  • He also got me a card that I swear was WRITTEN FOR ME and said a bunch of sweet things in it, too- including that I get to go out to fancy dinner tonight wherever I want to go…
  • And $60 in iTunes — that’s like 60 new songs to download!!!
  • And the movie Baby Mama, which I really love and am exicted to watch for the 4th time or something…
  • Then at work people made sweets for me too- coffee cake and chocolately cookie things and muffins and a veggie tray…
  • And I got an email gift confirmation that my dad got me subscriptions to both Cooking Light and Real Simple magazines (love that!)…
  • And I’ve been having odd long lasting though not painful contractions all morning- which I think may be directly correlated to all of the sugar I’ve ingested before noon…

I’ve also gotten some lovely gifts from Gabe’s family and my mom gave me some $$ that will likely go towards a new iPod…which I’ll need when I finally start running again…!? In like 2 months!

On a kind of bad-news-front, my Pap fell last night and is currently getting checked out at the hospital to make sure he didn’t break anything. The guy refuses to use a walker and will only use a cane. I am contemplating decorating a walker with conservative bumper stickers and other such nonsense and seeing if that would entice him to use it.

So I have to think of somewhere good to go for dinner tonight- even though I’m not hungry at all due to the constant snacking I’ve been doing all morning…

More later…

It’s Saturday and I have a few moments.

Well I’m at the point in the pregnancy where everyone says, “It drags but it flies at the same time.” When I can stop for a minute and appreciate the silence in my house, I do. I think about it when I leave the house and already have my hands full and realize that they’ll only get fuller from here on out…I do all of those things. I’m appreciating and loathing every last minute of the pregnancy because “he’s a lot easier to take care of in there” just like people say.

But my fuse is increasingly shorter each day. I hate my clothes, I hate my body and the way it’s hanging onto water like I’m some sort of camel. I hate the days I have to work, but don’t really love the days I have off either since there’s really not much I”m motivated to do at this point. I’m just…meh- let’s get onto the next step already.

Though, I am not working until this evening for an event, and I’ve enjoyed the morning I’ve had even though I’ve done little to nothing productive aside from bathe myself, put away some dishes and pay bills. I’m just glad to not be at work right now because I”m tired of the comments from strangers. Some of them are nice, I get it people are trying to be sweet. But henceforth I will not ask heavily pregnant women questions about their babies. I get it- you’re done hearing about it.

I know that people typically lose their previous identities once babies are born. You’re no longer just Mandy, you’re Mandy+1 or Mom or the-one-who-cleans-up-all-bodily-fluids. I have always known that being a mom would be the best thing I ever do, if I ever chose to finally do it. It’s not that I don’t understand what comes along with mothering– I think I do understand too much. And I want to hold on to the parts of me that make me feel like ME- I don’t want for every conversation I have to be about baby shit and pediatricians. I want to have my single friends and my child-less friends over and I’d like to talk about other things. I want to make a concerted effort to still seek out new music, play volleyball and do other things that make me feel normal. I know I’ll be sacrificing a lot and likely I won’t mind so much once the little bundle is here- but I want to put it out there that it’s a major concern of mine that I just sink into the background of my kid- I don’t want to do that. I don’t think it’s healthy for me, for the kid, and certainly wouldn’t be for me and Gabe. I mean- I’m still trying to figure out how that is all going to work.

I don’t want to forget that someday I will: move south (Carolinas or Georgia),  go back to England with people I love and show them everything I love about it, write a book (how that will happen I have no idea), contribute something really cool to the library community- do something that matters and gets noticed, etc. I just don’t want these things to fall by the wayside because I”m too busy sitting Thumbkin on the toilet backwards so he learns to aim properly when he’s peeing, or milking myself over a toilet in a public restroom. I want to find a balance between myself and my kid. I know most people try to do this- or the ones that don’t, hell maybe they’re better moms than I will be. I just want to make sure that I don’t lose myself completely. I need to hang onto something. I feel like I lived my life this long to determine and better understand who I am, and if I lost it completely or redefined it as only being Mom, well I’ll just be back at square 1 all confused and sad when the kid turns 18 and moves out.

So that’s something I’ve also been thinking about lately- when I’m not crying over nothing. I’ve been feeling that icky depression feeling again- the same feeling that I had at the beginning of this pregnancy. It’s the stuff that makes me NOT want to talk to anyone, NOT want to try to explain how I feel to anyone, and basically I just want to be left alone. Thoug I’m not completely freaked about postpartum depression-  I have to say I get where those people are at mentally. Because even now (and back in the first trimester) when I would start to get that blackhole feeling as I stared into space, I would think about how much better exercise would make me feel, or how I KNEW in the moment that I wasn’t being rational in my thought process. I think the biggest thing that makes me feel the depression yuck thoughts is the lack of control I have over anything in my life right now- my body, etc. I keep telling myself it’ll all pass and get better (which is true). It’s kind of like when you start to freak out and have to reign yourself back in and say, “It’s just the hormones talking…” or “It’s just the booze talking…” and convince yourself to go back to sleep before making a bigger idiot out of yourself. But I’m very cognizant of depression and what it looks and feels like- so I’m glad to know at least I won’t be completely psyched out if I start to have yuck-thoughts after the baby’s here.  I think I’m fairly good at retaining logic when it comes to being really sad about shit that I can’t control.

I turn 31 on Monday. It doesn’t feel like my birthday at all. For the first time in my life I really don’t care. I can’t really think of anything I need right now that I don’t already have (aside from all the money to pay off my student loans… and maybe a new tire for my car). Either way, I’ve had 30 really fun birthdays before this one that involved everything from balloon filled bedrooms, ballet slipper cakes, pool parties, bottles of really good gin, camping/canoeing parties, and getting wasted on a London pub crawl to celebrate. So I have had my fair share of birthday extravaganzas. This year I would like my belated birthday present to be an uncomplicated delivery with minimal tearing of the taint area and a beautiful baby boy who is healthy and miraculously learns to nurse and sleep through the night early. I know that’s asking for a lot, but it’s all I’m asking for this year.

Next year I want jewelry or an adults only vacation. Someone let Gabe know.

If you can’t say something nice…

Don’t say anything at all.

That’s where I’m at, folks. The internet didn’t do anything to deserve the wrath I would lay upon it today. So I’ll just tell you this:

  • I’ve gained 2 pounds in a week, probably 1 pound per cankle. Because I’ve misplaced my ankle bones. They’ve been REplaced with the likes of diabetic women-in-congestive-heart-failure-feet. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.
  • I’m a centimeter dilated but that doesn’t matter. People apparently walk around with baby heads between their legs dilated at 5 cm or something before anyone takes notice.
  • The doctor asked if I could find a place to lay down at work 2-3 times a day. I laughed.

That’s it for today folks, because I can’t do it without for-real-uncensored cussing. It’s just where I’m at these days.

Well, for only having one real weekend day

We did cram a lot into it! Sunday the researchers came and that was a short but hilarious experience.  Gabe and I were taken by two separate researchers into different areas of the apartment (Gabe took his to his man-lair of course) and we were asked to go over our Time Diaries and do a few more exercises separately. We basically had to rate our investments in certain things like Social Life, Parenting, Spouse/Partner, Other, Work, etc. I had to do it for now, and how I imagine it will be after the baby. Then I had to guess what I think Gabe’s “investments” are now and later for the baby. That was kind of fun.

Then they set up a few chairs and a video camera and gave us each a sheet of paper with “problems” on it that most people in relationships encounter. They included: money, work, in-laws, drugs/alcohol, pregnancy, sex, communication, etc. We had to rate them (separately without discussing) on a scale from 0-10 of “how big of a problem” each one was. Well…I didn’t like this to begin with because I don’t see this things as problems so much as issues and already I don’t like the terminology. I start writing my “issues” down…and Gabe does his. At the end we’re asked to write down/fill in two additional problems that we’ve most recently argued about…and I wrote in Videogames (as did he) and then we were asked to pick one and discuss it on camera for 10 minutes.  I mentioned that we don’t often get to discuss these things so it was probably good that they came over. We discussed the videogaming- “she gets mad cuz that’s all I do” and I said, “but I realize that he can’t do it later when the baby gets here so I feel bad about it but don’t understand how someone can spend that much time playing” and he said, “I do spend a lot of time playing and it is excessive but once the baby comes it won’t happen so…” so halfway through this discussion I peek at Gabe’s paper and all of his “problems” are listed as Moderate to Moderate-to severe. I laughed and said, “I wrote all of ours’ as slight problems”….so I finally filled in the second blank with Gabe’s Negative Attitude as being the second thing that I view as a Problem in our relationship (even though it’s only a slight problem).

All in all this exercise made me feel pretty good about our relationship. We laughed about it and I thought- boy we don’t have as many problems as I thought. That’s good news.

Then they (researchers) wanted us to role-play and Gabe was all- “Awesome!” until we realized that we’re supposed to play with a baby doll pretending that it’s the first time we’re seeing/bringing our baby home. The researcher pulls the baby out of the bag, puts it in a Moses basket and lays it in front of us….all still on camera mind you. The babydoll DOESN’T HAVE A FACE. I can’t pretend with this. I pick up the baby (trying to fake it) and look at Gabe and say, “It’s a bag of rice dressed up in pajamas without a face…” I couldn’t bring myself to pretend this was my baby. If my baby were born without a face I would probably have the same reaction.. Then it was Gabe’s turn to play with the baby and he was super awesome at faking it. I asked him, “How are you doing that? IT doesn’t have a face?!” and he said (smiling) “It’s because I’m just a better actor than you.” HA- not likely but whatever.

After that weirdness they had us sign a waiver and handed us $40 and left. Pretty awesome, right?

So after that we went to Target and got our extension cords and other random stuff that we needed around the house. And after THAT we went to the Jazz and Ribs festival downtown and had a really nice day down there. The weather was great, it wasn’t super crowded and it was the perfect little spot of downtown to have the festival- right near the water of the lovely (though filthy) river.

I am officially ugly-pregnant. Here are some pictures.

wow we got fat
wow we got fat
Perhpas this is why?
Perhpas this is why?
There's a riverfront in Columbus, kind of.
There's a riverfront in Columbus, kind of.
Gorgeous day and lemonade
Gorgeous day and lemonade

So that was that. We walked all over creation down at the Ribs fest, and took ribs home with us for leftovers. I swear we walked for miles. Then we got ice cream and walked around at Antrim Park. I’m trying to walk as much as possible. Walk walk walk. Even though I’m probably not walking as far or as long as I’d like to think, it certainly seems like I’m walking forever. With a baby head dangling between my legs. That’s what it feels like. But we continue to walk.

Last night we went to Babies R Us to pick up some things that we needed – Infant Gas Drops, strange but apparently necessary breastfeeding accessories I didn’t know existed, swaddler blankets, one of those baby-sack things, and a diaper changing caddy to keep downstairs so we don’t have to haul the baby and/or diaper stuff up and down the steps everytime he needs changed. It’s very cute. We also found (miraculously) this foot stool/foot warmer thing that easily fits under the crib and is PERFECT for our rocker in the baby room. It’s just a little mound of cushion to push off of, but it was on clearance and it has little pockets to put your feet in so they don’t get cold while you’re sitting there. It’s really neat. So that was fun.

And this morning, I got on a fellow pregnant friend Ria’s blog and realize — SHE HAD HER BABY!!! Hooray for Ria! He’s beautiful and I’m so happy for her. This made me realize, that holy shit I’m probably next. Wowza.

Monday is my birthday and it’s so un-fun-sounding this year. I mean, what am I going to do? Eat more? Awesome. No drinks, no fancy dinners, no looking cute and getting people to buy you drinks, etc.  But my friend Carie may be having a bon fire at her house Friday to celebrate our birthdays together  and fulfill my craving for S’MORES since we couldn’t go camping/cabrewing this year. Next year maybe…next year…

But oh yea I’ll probably have a freaking baby soon. Whoa….

Dear Thumbkin,

Well, you’re getting enormous. My co-workers can see you through my shirt at work as you wiggle around in there and try to make extra room. It really grosses out my friend Mandy, but most things relating to human reproduction do so that’s not a problem.

It has been perhaps the most beautiful summer I’ve ever experienced in Ohio. It’s reminded me of the summer I spent in London 3 years ago- with big fluffy white clouds, a nice breeze and we haven’t had to turn on the air but for 2 weeks all summer. It makes me think that the weather being this nice is for me for some reason…since you’re coming and all- a celebration or “favor” from the Universe or God or Whoeveryouthinkcontrolstheweather.

Everything is a go- meaning, we have everything ready for you. Carseat, swing, bedding’s washed, diapers, everything is DONE. I have a sneaking suspicion you’re Done cooking in there too, because you’re spending an awful lot of time playing around in there- dawdling. No dawdling! Come out and meet us! We have so much to do- like get ready for football season and then halloween (we’re going to dress you up) and then Thanksgiving and Christmas….and showing you off and staring at your face for hours on end and taking endless amounts of digital photographs and forgetting to print them and wondering what you’ll be “into” someday, if it’s dinosaurs or pirates or outer space or dolls. It can be dolls- I don’t care. I just want to know who you are so get here already!!!

I love you but am firmly asking you to please LISTEN TO MY WORDS and come out. We’ll have much more fun, I swear. Your dad’s even getting anxious to meet you- though I think he’s going to be disappointed by the dieting that comes along with it.

I can’t wait to meet you. Remember, my birthday’s next week…..

love you,

Mom

Research

We are participating in a research project that Ohio State is doing. It’s called the New Parents Project. I saw something about it in the newspaper, and then heard about it on the local news. I called them and we fit their criteria for New Parents who will both be returning to work after the baby. So far, we had to fill out a long survey online about parenting- our expectations. There were also some weird questions that I think were trying to determine whether or not we were sexist people. We also had to answer questions about our relationship and whatnot. We weren’t supposed to discuss our answers (Gabe and I filled out the surveys separately). We also had to log Time Diaries: one for a “work day” and one for a “non-work day”. For the time diaries we had to write down all the stuff we did in a given day. I laughed when Gabe was going to fill his out on his “non-work day” because I figured it would read a lot like this:

8:30am: woke up

8:35am: bathroom

8:40am: played videogames

6:30pm: said hello to girlfriend

6:45pm: played videogames

3:30am: went to bed

BUT INSTEAD on the day he filled out his Time Diary, he did all sorts of things like swept the upstairs, put together a baby swing, etc. It was probably the most productive day he’s had in a long time. I was kind of pissed because that’s definitely not “typical” but I didn’t want to complain about all the chores he did that day. It was nice to have all that help! At least I know he’s aware of what he SHOULD be doing to help out, and instead he chooses to play videogames….most of the time.

Anyways, today the OSU people are coming to the house to interview us and observe us in our natural habitat. I’m wondering what they’ll ask us or what they will think. Gabe thinks they asked us all those questions about each other so we could see how incredibly wrong our expectations were later on. haha! He might be right, I don’t know.

After they (researchers) leave, we’re going to go to target to buy an extension cord. Woo hoo! Other than that I haven’t really gotten much planned.

I think the baby gains all of his muscle mass and weight overnight because each morning it’s getting harder to get out of bed- and I mean remarkably harder. Last night we went out to “fancy dinner” because I was in the mood for GOOD food- namely fish. People were staring at me at the restaurant and it was embarrassing. I think it was because I’m ginormous and Gabe thinks it’s because my shirley temple looked a lot like a mixed-vodka-drink (don’t I wish). Either way, I had an awesome dinner of Parmesan crusted tilapia with zuchini and strawberry shortcake for dessert. It seems to me that the Fish Market has actually lowered their prices. They always offer three different options for a “special dish” that has a salad, meal and then a dessert for only $19.95 which is always delicious. So I had that and Gabe had the shrimp…it was awesome. Gabe ate two loaves of their sour dough bread and is still full today. haha.

I should go now since the researchers will be here any moment. 🙂

Attack of the baby belly

These pictures are kind of scary….I’ve reached the point where I’ve given up on trying to look decent.. I don’t look good, my clothes don’t fit, I’m just lucky if I can get the inertia behind me to hoist my body up from a seated position.

I am still wearing the same stretchy pj pants that I’ve been wearing for months, but they no long stretch up around the belly. The belly has taken over.

hmmmm
hmmmm

My size small men’s tank tops are now completely stretched to the limit, and what used to be a tiny sliver of “cute” baby belly a few months ago, now looks like a Homer-Simpsonesque beer belly that one would see hanging out at the Columbiana County fair near the Apple Dumpling cart. Mmmm fair food. Good thing Homer Simpson is Gabe’s favorite character.

37 weeks tomorrow. Stick a fork in me.
37 weeks tomorrow. Stick a fork in me.